What exactly qualifies a neighborhood to be part of a food desert? Food deserts usually have a bunch of blocks without a corner grocery store. In a more severe case an entire neighborhood, or a whole bunch of neighborhoods do not have a mainstream grocery store. A mainstream grocery stored would be a grocery store like a Jewel, a Whole Foods, or an Aldi, where they sell fresh produce and meat, along with various other items.
Day to day, residents must leave their neighborhoods for basics such as raw meat and fresh vegetables. Edith Howard, whose daughter drives her to the store, is better off than many. An estimated 64,000 households in food deserts don’t have cars, so a weekly shopping trip can require taking public transportation for a long distance. According to Chicagomagazine.com, 109,000 food desert residents are single mothers. Because of this many simply are not able to make their purchases, turning to a fast-food outlet or a convenience store instead. In a convenience store, the inventory often consists of potato chips and liquor rather than broccoli and apples. If these items were to be available, they would cost almost three times as much as they would in a mainstream grocery store. (http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/July-2009/The-Food-Desert/)
Many factors contribute to a food desert, such as having physical access to shops can be difficult if the shops are far away. Consumers can become affected by these areas if the neighborhood has rough conditions to get around in, public transport is poor or only reaches so far, and I think in most cases a consumer has no car.
Cited: 1. In Chicago, A Plan To Quench 'Food Deserts '. (12 August). All Things Considered Retrieved December 1, 2010, from Research Library Core. (Document ID: 2108366741). 2. Schorsch, Kristen “Fit Fest an oasis in a 'food desert '” Chicago Tribune. August 2010 3. Charon, Joel M.; Vigilant, Lee G. The Meaning of Sociology. 2008